Ep.194: Psalm 87: Jerusalem, God’s City.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.

Psalm 87 is a fascinating but enigmatic poem, about the City of Jerusalem. At this point in the Psalms, Jerusalem is frequently mentioned as a city destroyed by the Babylonians, mourned by the Israelites, mocked by the nations, and ignored by God. 

But in Psalm 87, there is no hint of the destruction. Instead, Jerusalem is the city God loves and favors, almost like a summer cottage on a granite rock, caressed by gentle lake breezes, protected by a forest of evergreen trees. a place of glory and sunshine and life, God’s home on earth. 

This psalm is also amazing for the place it assigns to the nations of the earth. In the poem, God does a brief roll call of nations that have been Israel’s enemies: cruel world-dominating empires like Egypt and Babylon; smaller and closer enemies like Philistia and Tyre; and even the distant Ethiopia, .

God does not threaten these nations with judgement and destruction. Instead he calls them to become citizens of his favorite city, Jerusalem. He says, “They were born here”–that is, they have the same rights of citizenship as native-born Israelites. In our world today, we see nations and rulers making laws that exclude foreigners and undocumented aliens and people from terrorist countries. But in this psalm, King God sends a worldwide invitation for nations to become members of his city and citizens of his kingdom.

Let’s pray. 

Our father, Psalm 87 pictures you, the creator of all, welcoming the nations into your kingdom. Nations that have warred against you, who have killed your people, taken captives, and destroyed your city and your temple.

In many psalms, your people ask you to take vengeance on their enemies, but in this psalm you show a heart of reconciliation and peace to every nation. Here you begin to undo the work of the tower of Babel–the confusion of tongues and the scattering of nations. 

O God, we pray today that you will work among our modern nations.
– Heal the hermit kingdom, North Korea.
– Bring your rule to a restored yet corrupt Russia.
– Bring the citizenship of your city to war-shattered Syria.
– Bring peace to the violent nation of Israel.
– Bring hope and land to the Palestinians.
– Bring justice to all refugees of war and violence.
– Bring truth to the United States.
– Bring wisdom to Canada as our politicians descend again into pettiness and foolishness.

O God, make of the nations one kingdom, ruled by your son, speaking the language of peace, paying allegiance to your rule and your fatherhood. 

And may we share the poet’s song, “All my fountains are in you” (v. 7). Yes, the fountains of life are not in the things we own, or the nations we conquer, or the temples we build; they are found in the city of God, in the place where you dwell on earth.  


I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.